Sanders, Clinton campaigns ramp up ad buys before CT primaries

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The presidential candidates for the Democratic party have been increasing their advertising in Connecticut leading up to the state’s primary election.

Ad buys on behalf of Bernie Sanders have reached $770,000, according to station data filed with the Federal Communications Commission. Hillary Clinton’s campaign, filing as different groups like “Hillary for America,” have spent about half of that with $345,000.

Beginning in 2014, all TV stations were required to file documentation on political advertising, including total cost, what time and how often the advertisements ran, and the chief members of the organization purchasing the ad time.

Thanks to the Sunlight Foundation, a website called Political Ad Sleuth hosts the categorized FCC documents, and volunteers parse the documents to update the data. Trend CT parsed through hundreds of documents that stations filled in by hand to build an overall database (as of April 15) of presidential campaign ad buys.

Connecticut largely ignored by candidates

Before April, no presidential advertisements aired in Connecticut. State and local political advertisements tended to play in front of residents. Most of the presidential primary attention was focused on battleground states like Florida.

According to a poll in November, Sanders trailed Clinton by 29 points in Connecticut. But then a new poll by Emerson College came out last week.

Sanders had gained 12 points in the poll while Clinton had fallen by one.

Only six points separated the two candidates.

Here come the ad purchases

Sanders’ and Clinton’s campaign and organizations supporting them increased the amount of money spent on television advertising in Connecticut significantly around the time the poll came out.

Since then, Sanders has outspent Clinton on ad buys and bought more of them. However, Clinton has stepped up the amount of money spent on ads as of Friday.

The amount is trending upward, with the largest amount filed on Friday, a total of $320,000 from both campaigns.

Number of ads

Clinton’s campaign and supporters have purchased more than 1,300 ads since April compared to 2,200 by the Sanders camp. That’s a slightly smaller gap than that between the money spent by the two groups.

Sanders has kept ahead of Clinton ad purchases, but her campaign ramped things up on Friday by finally buying more advertisements.

According to the data, Clinton bought more and paid less on Friday.

Digging deeper into the ad-buy patterns

Sanders has bought more ads than Clinton on four out of six television stations in Connecticut.

Clinton’s campaign has focused ad buys at WCTX, which has a large Fairfield County audience, as well as Fox 61 (WTIC-TV) in Hartford.

The greatest gap between the two campaigns’ ad buys is with WCCT in Waterbury and WFSB in Hartford with Sanders’ ads significantly outpacing Clinton’s.

Explore the data below.

Check our work: The GitHub repository containing our work is available here. We encourage you to look over our calculations and expand upon our analysis.

What do you think?

  • jhs

    Well I guess I’ll be fast forwarding past the lying Clinton commercials.